China Air Pollution

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, China has abundant tourism resources, the vast majority of which are of great renown. However, the number of tourists visiting China declined from 2013, mostly due to its increasingly serious air pollution. Many cities have been adversely affected by hazy weather since the beginning of 2013. This is especially true of central and eastern China’s cities such as Tangshan, Jinan, Zhengzhou, and Xi'an for example.

It is known to all that the rapid development of China’s economy in the past 30 years resulted in environmental degradation. Nevertheless, the hazy weather records of China in 2013 attracted global attention. It is a pity that as a consequence some foreign residents choose to give up their jobs and life in China.

China Air Pollution Map

As what can be seen from the above map, central China, eastern and south China are the most effected districts, especially the Yangtze River Delta including Shanghai. Not without consequence, this air pollution map is almost the same as the map of China’s population distribution.  The air quality is good in most part of northern and northwest China. Furthermore, the hazy weather has obvious seasonal characteristic, which usually occurs in the autumn and winter.

 

Air Quality Index (AQI)

As the new standard of measurement for air quality, AQI is a quantitative description of the air quality index. The major pollutants involved in the analysis including fine particulate matter (PM2.5), inhalable particles (PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO). Here PM2.5 and PM10 are measured in micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3).

According to “Technical Regulation on Ambient Air Quality Index (on trial)”, AQI is divided into six levels in total, with Level one being the best and Level six being the worst.

 

AQI and Health Implications

AQI Air Quality Health Implications
0–50 Excellent No air pollution.
51–100 Good Few hypersensitive individuals should reduce the time for outdoor activities.
101–150 Lightly Polluted Slight irritations may occur, children, and those who with breathing or heart problems should reduce outdoor exercise.
151–200 Moderately Polluted Irritations may occur, and it may have an impact on healthy people’s heart and / or respiratory system, so all people should reduce the time for outdoor exercise.
201–300 Heavily Polluted Healthy people will be noticeably affected. People with breathing or heart problems will lack exercise tolerance. Those patients, children and elders should remain indoors.
300+ Severely Polluted Even healthy people will lack endurance during activities. There may be strong irritations and symptoms. So all people should avoid outdoor activities.
 

Air Quality Rankings of Chinese Major Tourist Cities in 2021

Rank City Province belongs to AQI Air Quality Level PM 2.5 PM 10
1 Zhangjiajie Hunan 22 Excellent 11 19
2 Zhengzhou Henan 27 Excellent 22 41
3 Luoyang Henan  27 Excellent 11 16
4 Taiyuan Shanxi 28 Excellent 14 27
5 Yinchuan Ningxia 32 Excellent 20 29
6 Lhasa Tibet 36 Excellent 12 31
7 Urumqi Xinjiang 37 Excellent 13 47
8 Datong Shanxi 39 Excellent 13 36
9 Sanya Hainan  40 Excellent 12 32
10 Jinan Shandong 41 Excellent 14 37
11 Haikou Hainan 42 Excellent 14 37
12 Qingdao Shandong 45 Excellent 19 44
13 Changsha Hunan 45 Excellent 38 41
14 Lijiang Yunnan 46 Excellent 18 60
15 Dali Yunnan 47 Excellent 17 44
16 Chongqing Chongqing 47 Excellent 28 45
17 Guilin Guangxi 48 Excellent 26 47
18 Nanning Guangxi 48 Excellent 19 43
19 Dalian Liaoning 48 Excellent 20 49
20 Hangzhou Zhejiang 48 Excellent 21 51
21 Nanjing Jiangsu 49 Excellent 22 46
22 Shenzhen Guangdong 49 Excellent 20 54
23 Shijiazhuang Hebei 50 Excellent 24 43
24 Kunming Yunnan 51 Good 18 40
25 Fuzhou Fujian 52 Good  17 42
26 Chengdu Sichuan 53 Good 30 51
27 Xining Qinghai 54 Good 16 52
28 Xiamen Fujian 54 Good 21 65
29 Xi’an Shaanxi 55 Good 32 65
30 Shanghai Shanghai 56 Good  21 62
31 Hefei Anhui 57 Good 33 54
32 Suzhou Jiangsu 57 Good 21 65
33 Beijing Beijing 57 Good 32 61
34 Zhangjiakou Hebei 59 Good 21 67
35 Lanzhou Gansu 61 Good 18 60
36 Guangzhou Guangdong 61 Good 31 74
37 Yangzhou Jiangsu 61 Good 26 71
38 Baotou Inner Mongolia 63 Good 31 67
39 Guiyang Guizhou 64 Good 40 76
40 Wuhan Hubei 65 Good 58 76
41 Tianjin Tianjin 70 Good 40 65
42 Hohhot Inner Mongolia 73 Good 28 67
43 Shenyang Liaoning 82 Good 39 87
44 Changchun Jilin 101 Lightly Polluted 45 151
45 Harbin Heilongjiang 202 Heavely Polluted 187 270

Note: AQI and Air Quality Level may vary day by day; the data here is just average value for reference only.
- Last modified on Apr. 21, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Air Pollution
Asked by Gia from USA | Oct. 20, 2019 17:07Reply
How is the air pollution in Beijing during the month of November?
Answers (1)
Answered by Swan from FRANCE | Oct. 20, 2019 18:52
00Reply


Well, based on the previous weather statistics, the air pollution would be a little bit serious during that period of time. You'd better to wear a mask.
Asked by siew cheng from MALAYSIA | Oct. 13, 2019 00:05Reply
I'm suffering from Bronchiectasis and I'm planning to visit Guangzhou in December.
How is the air pollution there ? DO I need to wear N95 mask?
Answers (2)
Answered by Charles from UNITED KINGDOM | Oct. 13, 2019 19:30
00Reply


Based on the previous weather statistics, the air pollution won't be that serious. Thus you don't need to wear N95 mask. :)
Answered by siew cheng from MALAYSIA | Oct. 14, 2019 20:08
00Reply


Thank you Charles for your swift and helpful reply.
Asked by Alain from CANADA | Oct. 10, 2019 18:34Reply
Air quality Oct 13th to 27th
Hello,

I will be going to the following destinations and would like to know if I will need a mask. I am healthy and will be doing a lot of hiking/sightseeing.

-Mutianyu Great Wall
-Guilin/Yangshuo
-Mt Fanjing near Tongren
-Fenghuang
-Zhangjiajie
-Beijing (oct 26-27th)
Answers (1)
Answered by Chase from POLAND | Oct. 13, 2019 19:32
00Reply


Well, according to the previous situations, you are suggested to wear a mask.
Asked by Patricia from THAILAND | Sep. 14, 2019 00:46Reply
Xi'an 9-18 October PM2.5
Hi I would live to visit Xi'an (around 4 days) and zhengzhou (1 day) in October. I would like to ask about the PM2.5 situations there during those mentioned times. Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Charles from DENMARK | Sep. 16, 2019 18:21
00Reply


According to the weather forecast, the air condition will be good during that period of time. You don't need to wear masks. Don't worry.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)
NameCountryEmail